Thursday, 7 October 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Employment Support Services
The Deputy will agree that I recognise the good work being carried out by our LES providers throughout the country. I take this opportunity to assure the Deputy, and to put on record, that the Government recognises the great work being carried out by many of our LES providers. They do great work in helping people with career guidance, CVs, interview preparation, upskilling and training supports. I see that in my county too.
The reality is, however, that the Government has to follow the legal advice it is given. These contracts have been rolled over continuously for more than two decades. The clear advice from the Chief State Solicitor's office, the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Attorney General is that the Department of Social Protection is in breach of EU procurement rules and there needs to be a competitive procurement process for these contracts. As much as we might like to leave things as they are, the Government cannot ignore this legal advice.